Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Varanasi 2014 again!

Yes, we were in Varanasi in February. And then we went again in November. The main justification was that our daughter Saraswati would be turning 2 in late February and after that we'll have to pay for 3 air tickets instead of 2 plus a small fee for an infant.

Yuki took lots of lessons - daily lessons in Sanskrit with Pt Vagish Shastri and lessons every 2-3 days in Dhrupad vocal with Pt Ritwik Sanyal. You can read about her blog about the trip here (you might need to use an online translator.)

Meanwhile I had lessons around twice a week with Sri Hari Om Hari, a disciple of Pt Kishan Maharaj, excellent tabla player and nice guy. I came to know him first through his accompaniment of Tahir Qawwal's Qawwali group in a concert in Varanasi. We worked especially on light classical styles - Qawwali, Ghazal, Thumri, and variations of keherva and dadra - all my weak points in tabla accompaniment. I got so much great material that will take me a while to process, but it's enriching my playing already. Many thanks to Hari Om-ji.

The rest of the time I got to spend a lot of time with my beautiful daughter Saraswati, and got to see a few concerts too.

Saraswati dancing in my Guru-ji's house.

Blessings on tabla at Guru-ji's house.

Saraswati with her new special small tabla.

First boat trip on "Gangan" for Saraswati.

On the bike around town.

Practice with sitarist Shrabani Biswas.

Performance by Devashish Dey (vocal) with Kishore Kumar Mishra (tabla), Rohan Naidu (violin) and Bhaiyan-ji (harmonium) - the first "Subah-e-Banaras" dawn concert on Assi Ghat.

On our last day in Varanasi, we got to see Pt Kumar Bose giving tabla solo in Dhamar and Teentaal. So powerful!!!

In Kolkata we were looked after very kindly by vocalist Supriyo Dutta. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Various concerts, Sep-Nov 2014

A brief summary of my concerts (and a recording) from just before Sangeet Mela 2014 until our second India trip of the year...

Around Sangeet Mela 2014, we had fantastic international musicians Sri Sangeet Mishra (sarangi) and Sri Govinda Chakraborty (tabla - my senior guru-bhai) here, so we had a couple of small concerts out of town featuring them, plus a few more concerts in the following weeks with Sangeet-ji as guest artist in Tibet2Timbuk2 and Spirit of Bhakti.  All awesome, what great musicians!

Govinda Chakraborty (tabla) and Sangeet Mishra (sarangi) playing together for the first time ever -  a totally awesome home concert.

Raga Shambhala tour in Lismore: Shen, Sangeet Mishra, Tenzin Choegyal
Plenty of Indian community events as usual...
Shen with Smt Shrabani Choudhury, 21/9/2014

My first performance on pakhawaj, accompanying Yuki at Sri Selva Vinayakar Temple in South Maclean for Navaratri.

Shen with Murali Ramakrishnan (bansuri), 12/10/2014

Shen with Dr Indranil Chatterjee, 12/10/2014
Indranil played a composition in Taal Pancham Sawari (15 beats) - very enjoyable!

Flying off to Sydney with Spirit of Bhakti - Shen, Menaka, Radha - just like a real professional band! :-)

Recording the new CD by Spirit of Bhakti with Radha Bornstein. (Marcello Milani running the recording in the background.)